In the years prior to the Firm Foundation (begun in 1884) there was practical unanimity on the question of whether one who had been previously immersed to obey God but without the knowledge of its saving import should be rebaptized. The answer was an unequivocal “No.” The only significant part of the Stone-Campbell Movement that answered “Yes” was the Virginians who followed John Thomas in the mid-1830s. Alexander Campbell opposed their understanding of the rebaptism and regarded it as rank sectarianism. Anyone immersed upon a confession of faith in Jesus as the Christ, thought Campbell, was legitimately baptized and needed no further “re-d0″ when they later learned that baptism was for the remission of sins.
Benjamin Franklin (1812-1878), a northern right-wing leader within the Stone-Campbell Movement in the mid-19th century, agreed with Campbell and the vast majority of “his brethren.” A correspondent to his American Christian Review asked that since “some twenty years ago [he] was immersed and united with the Baptist Church,” whether it was now “requisite for [him] to be immersed again, in understanding more fully what is meant by immersion and what it is for?” He recognized that the Baptists believe baptism to be “the door into the church,” while “we hold it as being a positive command and for the remission of sins.”
Franklin’s response counsels against rebaptism (ACR 2  26):
We do not think you ought to be immersed again. While it is certainly desirable to understand as far as we can any appointment we submit to, the want of a full understanding does not invalidate the ordinance….You believed in the Lord, loved him and aimed to obey and understood sufficiently to do what he commanded. As a matter of course, in reading and practicing for many years, you will understand more clearly and fully. We presume this is the case generally; but this does not prove, the necessity of taking incipient steps again that have long since been honestly taken.
Later northern conservatives followed Franklin’s lead on this point. Daniel Sommer, for example, regard the Firm Foundation’s rebaptism agenda as a divisive and sectarian hobby. Nevertheless, despite the support of David Lipscomb and James A. Harding in the south as well as other luminaries from the Gospel Advocate, the Firm Foundation perspective ultimately became the majority view within Churches of Christ by the 1940s.